Machine Made Cigars


Well-Known Member
So if we're in this sub-forum, we all have in common a love of cigars.

However, what many of us probably don't like, as a general rule, are machine made cigars.

They're generally considered the degenerate, unsophisticated hillbilly cousins of the more urbane and suave handmade Dominican cigars, and only very distant relations of (barely even the same species as) the powerful, high-society type Cuban cigars.

But I've long believed there is a time and place for most all things. When I still drank, as a general rule I got far more enjoyment from a glass of malt whisky or a fine craft beer or a high quality, dry sparkling white wine than most other drinks....but that doesn't mean I never reached for a 40 of Olde English 800 on a sticky August night or a cold can of Stroh's or PBR on a hot July afternoon. And it certainly doesn't mean I didn't still enjoy the heck out of those! I liked them -truly- but for very different qualities (and it's not strictly because I had a drinking problem, either, though I admit that played some role)

Anyway, my point is that "low quality" doesn't mean no quality, and it doesn't mean we can't still enjoy the (allegedly) lesser products.

Before you jump and attack me for this blasphemy, consider for a moment the "no snob zone" qualification of this forum, and consider for a moment your pipe smoking habits. Do you enjoy Prince Albert? Carter Hall? I've seen some folks on here tout the merits of Smoker's Pride Black Cavendish, and somewhat recently even Borkum Riff! And probably almost all of us have at least one or two Missouri Meerschaums in our pipe rack.

These old school pipe blends are sometimes thought of as being "less than." And maybe they are. But among the fine people on this forum, they are usually defended as being "simple but enjoyable." You may, sometimes, find they smoke so easily you need to slow down in comparison to, say, Full Virginia Flake. Almost nobody will claim Prince Albert is as complex or nuanced as Penzance. But they are not designed to be. There is no pretension, no assumption that you will get the same type of smoke from them.

So, we like pipes, and we like cigars. Why do so few of us smoke (or rather, admit to smoking) cheap machine made cigars?

Let's look at some of their potential merits:

A. Availability - lets face it, most gas stations you walk into will not have a humidor with premium cigars. If they do, they will likely have a selection of ten or fewer varieties of cigars, and probably at prices far higher than you'll find with JR or CI. But more gas stations, carry outs, convenience an corner stores than not will have a selection of a plethora of machine made cigars. It wouldn't be hard to imagine that more of these are sold to and smoked by the American public every year than premium cigars - probably by a comfortable margin.

B. Quickness - these are mostly small cigars: coronas, petite coronas, short panetelas, and cigarillos. They are generally made with short fillers. They are designed in every way to take light and burn easily and effortlessly. Even a larger corona will last, at most, maybe 30 minutes. These are quick smokes in most cases, and designed to offer enjoyment when you're on the go or distracted, or when you don't care if the cigar tastes like a Gurkha. These are designed for smoke breaks, for mowing the lawn, or for something to slightly slow down the consumption of after work libations.

C. Affordability - Need I say more? These are generally far cheaper than the premium smokes, often 1/5 the cost of entry-level premiums. For the price of a single Punch I can get a five pack of any number of machine made cigars. These are generally pretty well constructed, but on the off chance you get one which just won't do, you aren't out much. If you happen to get a dud of a premium cigar, you're out much more money.

D. Reliability - say what you will about flavor, these things are pretty consistent. The combination of mechanized production and short leaf, low-density cores may not be conducive to three inch ashes, but by gosh you'll have an easy, relaxed draw every dang time.

E. Simplicity - in almost no cases do you need to snip these. They are, in a very true sense, stogies, and are open to a greater or lesser degree on both ends. Not only that, they do not demand much attention in lighting, in keeping a straight burn, in keeping lit, or in appreciating the flavor, which itself is almost invariably very simple.

So, this thread is intended to be for the un(der?)appreciated workhorses of the cigar industry, the cheap, machine made cigar.

It is no secret, and I make no apologies for the fact, that my go-to cigar is the Parodi King. These are quite unusual in many regards, and are quite different from most other machine made cigars on a number of levels, but I enjoy them at least as much as most premium cigars, and often more. They are hearty, ugly, very full bodied, yet smooth and strangely enjoyable. They are as cheap as any cigar out there, and unlike most machine made stogies they last about as long as your average premium robusto.

More in line with the nature of this thread, I will admit to occasionally smoking and enjoying Antonio y Cleopatra Grenadiers, usually in the candela wrapper. These make use of a homogenized tobacco binder, but unlike many machine made smokes they use natural leaf wrappers. They are smallish panatelas, at a bit over 6 inches long but a ring gauge of only 33. The candelas have a semi-sweet, mild, grassy flavor with just enough body, and due to their length when nursed they can last me a good 30 minutes, as they burn increasingly slowly toward the end. These have a somewhat weak and "thin" flavor, and slightly "dusty" for lack of a better word, but while they may not have rich flavor like a premium smoke they are not premiums. I think the comparison to Prince Albert or Carter Hall compared to FVF is an apt one. Poll 100 PA smokers about how to describe the blend, and I bet you less than five would list "rich" among the adjectives. It doesn't taste bad, it's just not earth shattering.

I'm interested in learning more about the world of machine mades, but despite all my defense of them broadly, more specifically I will say I dislike most of them that I've tried. I've smoked my share of Phillies, White Owls, and Swishers....with one or two Optimos thrown in, but beyond that I refuse to comment.....those days are behind me ;) any rate, more recent trials with these, say the past two years or so, have found these homogenized tobacco wrapped sticks to be thoroughly unpleasant - but then, I dislike a few OTC blends, too.

I have a few machine made sticks on my "to try" list. Among them are Marsh Wheelings, Robert Burns, Kentucky Cheroots, Ramrods, Garcia y Vega in candela wrappers, and probably at the top of the list, La Aurora's "Principes."

So, if anyone here cares to discuss the matter further, I'm interested in doing so. I won't be disappointed if nobody does, but I'd like to. I'm especially curious if anyone here has had the Principes, and if so, how they stacked up compared to the likes of Antonio y Cleopatra and Garcia y Vega (I'd expect them to be better) and how they compare to the quality of the semi-premium handmade shortfiller sticks out there. Their price can't be beat, and I've been very interested in trying them for a long time, I just don't want to shell out the money for a full box of what I may not end up enjoying.

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Better snork a swisher outlaw.

I love the swisher outlaws, and i kid you not. Throw a phillies titan in the humidor for a month or so and it smokes and tastes better than cigars that cost 4 timss as much

Slow Tri

Is it Friday yet?
The only machine made cigars I've ever found that I like are Villiger Export in both the natural and maduro wrapper. It's a quick tasty little smoke, that I often take when I'm out hunting or fishing.

I agree with Charlie on this. I believe he and I got hooked on these about the same time. They are a great short smoke in the winter and great for on the golf course where they are cheap enough that I don't mind dropping it or having the wind make a mess of it. I prefer the maduro ones.

As far as pipe tobacco cigars go I prefer the Middleton's Cherry ones although not as much as an actual bowl of Middleton's Cherry.


Well-Known Member
Oh, I knew I was forgetting something! The Export maduros are pretty good. Not rich or complex by any means, but honest cigar flavor on a budget, and a decent 20 minute smoke. The only thing I don't like about them is they are SO open that when they soften as you smoke them, I almost always get loose bits of tobacco in my mouth, which if I'm not chewing I don't like


Very interesting. Some of these brands I'd never even heard of. I've often dreamed of a machine made cigar that could bring the thunder. I'll have to give some of these a try.


Well-Known Member
Machine mades are fantastic in that they are already cut , draw perfect and burn perfect ! The homog binder or fake wrapper is what kills them to some people . It's interesting to note that Middletons Black and Mild is the largest selling cigar in the US . Pick a brand of Machine mades and that one brand sells more than any handmade x 50 . It's a trip .

Some Great Machine made are made by FD graves and Sons . Theyre made from all tobacco and the Flavor on them are good . Judges Cave being my favorite of their line
FD Grave had the best quality Machine made cigars

Next would be National Cigar .
Heres their list of Brands ..

I sold some of these brands at the shop : Old Reliable sold like crazy and the other Marsh Wheeling cigars sold pretty good . Farnam Drive and Ibold Black Pete were good

Many of the Broadleaf cigars have a Chocolateish tobacco flavor to them .. the better ones will hold that flavor toward the end . You don't have to draw on these hard at all .... ya just " Tap " them and you have a full draw . A lot of handmade guys draw to hard on them ... not that the hand mades they smoked weren't excellent ... it's just that a machine made cigar draws flawless , the better ones anyway . To be honest , I'm surprised these brand are still around after the Schip tax . It used to be Machine mades were cheap but that tax was a tax on boxes not handmades only .

Wolf Brothers Rum Crooks sold well and were pretty damn good ! I thought they were gone but these guys had them ..and then they got discontinued . If anybody see these any where , please let me know cause I'd like to have a pack or two . Theres a Moonshine Crooks cigar out there and theyre ok but not as flavorful as the Wolf Brothers

Ram Rod is pretty good Machine Made .. ... these are made by Avanti

Avanti .. ...... As Nesta says , these are good and Enjoyable smoke . I'll just add that they were made for Men ! My mother used to called the dried cured cigars ... GUINEA STINKERS .. LOL .. cause alot of old Italian men would smoke these . When we were at family get togethers .. I would be in a cloud of this stuff and thought it was the norm . My dad smokes a pipe a little bit but is a big cigar smoker .. he smoked these when I was a kid or with family members . By the time I was 12 or so he was smoking Optimo , which back then were ok , By the time I was a teen ... he was smoking the good stuff and he was pretty much a Primo del Rey guy .. which was my first Handmade and I feel in love :rolleyes: ... I was 23

My first Cigar was a William Penn .... they suck .... I tried one way back and it was the reason I didn't want to try a cigar until my dad " made me " when I was 23 .. had just got married pretty much and My dad wanted me to smoke a cigar with him .. but I smoked a pipe and wasnt interested . He said something like ... You always smoke that damn pipe .. when are you gonna smoke a damn cigar with your dad !? So I had to and I'm glad I did . That Primo del Rey Noble was so damn good ! I still smoke a cigar with my dad but I've been getting him into the pipe ... I can play his game , ya know


My personal favorite - Garcia y Vega English Corona in the tube. Transportable without damage, stays fresh, pre-punched, great draw with an even burn. Mild, slightly sweet flavor. Cheap at about a buck each. A good, no maintenence cigar. Great traveling smoke.


Mount Mandolin

Active Member
To have snobbery in here would be very unfortunate. I'm glad you guys like some of the machine mades, and it seems as though I have a few to try before I write them off as being not for me. I have had the typical drug store cigars like Garcia y Vega and Phillies and Swisher, and I really did not like any of them at all. These Parodi cigars sound like something I need to try though. I'll have to search for them sometime soon.

I like CCs, but I also like cheap cigars, just like I like Old Ironsides as well as SWR. There is no reason why one cannot learn to like a new thing.


Well-Known Member
No it's not,I'm a cheap bastard and thats what I like.Now back on the subject Finks makes some nice machine made smokes also ,but you still can't beat a good Swisher or Phillie when fishing or mowing.
I don't trust Phillies. I've found bits of cellophane in the filler when disassembling them for......ummm......for science! But frankly I have smoked them plenty of times, and I just don't like them. Though, I will admit to occasionally wanting one of their flavored smokes on the occasion that I do smoke one. The honey and berry flavors are nice....but would be nicer if the underlying tobacco wasn't unpleasant :)